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Daily Devotional

July 17

The Ox and the Ass

by the Rev. Henry Huenemann


The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider (Isaiah 1:3).

Bible Reading

Isaiah 1:1-9:

1The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
9Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.


The ox is a clean animal; the ass is an unclean animal. The ox and the ass were not to be yoked together. "Thou shall not plough with an ox and an ass together." What a lesson for the believer! "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." The first-born of an ass had to be redeemed with a lamb, and if it was not redeemed, its neck should be broken.

The first-born of man also had thus to be redeemed. Man and the ass were unclean, but they could be redeemed with a lamb. This was typical. Thank God we are redeemed through the blood of the Lamb! In spite of this, man wanders away from God. Instead of taking up the easy yoke of Christ, he is again entangled with the yoke of bondage. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider."

How sad and tragic! How humiliating that man must learn from the dumb beast! The ox and the ass know where they get their food, and who gives it to them, and they willingly serve their masters; but man serves other gods and does not consider that his help is only in Jehovah. "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help."


O Lord, how cold and indifferent and ungrateful we often are. When we ought to be serving Thee with gladness, we often do what we please, and go our own way. The ox and the ass trust their owner, but Thy people does not consider. O Lord, we must be ashamed of our own ways. Be merciful unto us. Cause us to repent of our sins. We thank Thee that there is forgiveness through the blood of the Lamb, who died in our stead. Help us to put our trust in him. For his sake. Amen.

Scripture in Devotional: Deut. 12:10; 2 Cor. 6:14; Ex. 13:13; Matt. 11:29; Gal. 5:1; Isa. 1:5; Hosea 13:9.

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